Anyone Collect Milk Cartons?

Vintage Cape Girardeau area milk cartons c 1970I still don’t feel like talking about our plumbing project. We now have two functioning bathrooms, but the upstairs one is going to need to have new floor covering put down. We couldn’t match the 57-year-old tiles we had to pull up, so we’re going to punt and go with all new. I don’t do paint chips, so Mother is going to have to make the decorating decision on her own. The room has gray tile with pink trim (which actually looks better than it sounds.).

But we’re going to talk about something else that came up during the project. I mentioned yesterday finding an old canteen that belonged to K Robinson of Troop 8. Keith Robinson claims he loaned it to his younger brother and that was the last that was seen of it.

I know how that works. I have TWO younger brothers. Had they taken care of the mint condition comic books I left behind when I went to college, I’d be able to afford a better grade of cat food in my retirement.

The space between the floor joists and the upstairs flooring was filled with cardboard milk cartons from Sunny Hill, Reiss from Sikeston and Kroger’s Dawn Fresh.

No missing children

Vintage Cape Girardeau area milk cartons c 1970None of the cartons has photos of missing children on them. That didn’t start until December 1984 after Etan Patz went missing in New York. Eventually 700 out of 1,800 dairies around the country participated in the program.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint how old the cartons are. Brother Mark thought he saw something that indicated the year to be 1970 or ’71, but I can’t find that stamp now. One Kroger half-gallon has an imprint 7/5 or 7/15. I guess they figured there was no need to put a year on it. Kroger was selling for 61 cents a carton;

One of Sunny Hill’s Grade A Pasteurized Homogenized Vitamin D milk was dated 7/28.It had Sonny pulling a carton on wheels. Another side pictured a family of four: Mom, Dad, Big Brother and Little Sister with the admonition, “Go to Church Sunday.”

Salute the Jaycees

Vintage Cape Girardeau area milk cartons c 1970

Miss Liberty had a photo of two children running in front of a car. It wanted you to “Drive Safely! … Give the kids a brake! ‘A good driver is a safe driver’ The life you save may be your own.” They wanted to leave no bases uncovered.

Another Sunny Hill (Cape Girardeau, MO 63701) carton saluted the Jaycees – “The young man who steps in to serve the community.” Zip Codes, which allowed automated mailing systems to bypass as many as six mail-handling steps, went into effect July 1, 1963. That means this carton had to have been made after that.

Why save them?

Mother wasn’t sure why Dad might have saved them. I vaguely remember him putting pecans in them after he had picked them out. I think he may have frozen water in them, too.

I guess the saving trait runs in the family. The last time I cleaned out our attic in West Palm Beach, I threw out about a dozen plastic gallon jugs we had stockpiled for hurricane water supplies. So far as I can recall, we never bothered to fill them. At the start of the season and if a storm is approaching, we stock up on bottled water that I’ll eventually use in the coffee maker. We have a well for our sprinkler system that we used to flush the toilets after one storm broke a water main and left much of the city dry for several days. Even if the power is out, we have a generator to run the pump.

Any collectors out there?

Before I use them for really good fire starters, do we have any milk carton collectors out there? I ran it by Laurie at Annie Laurie’s Antiques; she said those are such common brands in this area that she doubts there is much demand for them

Matt’s Savings Bonds

Savings Bonds given to Matt Steinhoff when he was a babyWife Lila has been doing some major reshuffling of her office since she retired in November. Part of it is moving all the DedicatedIT  business records and stuff to Son Adam, her co-owner’scare. One of the things she’s finding is that your kids may move out, but some of their stuff lingers behind “so it doesn’t get lost.”

One of the things that lingered was a envelope with two U.S. Savings Bonds and the gift envelopes they and other bonds had lived in. Dad and Mother gave Son Matt bonds when he was a baby, and Mother made some out in memory of her parents – my grandparents, Roy and Elsie Welch.

“For when you are a big boy”

Savings Bonds given to Matt Steinhoff when he was a babyThis one was for his first birthday. “From Pa Pa and Grandmother: Matt, this is for something you need when you are a big boy. Love forever.

For his 4th Christmas

Savings Bonds given to Matt Steinhoff when he was a babyMother wrote “My dear little boy, this coming year will be a special time for you! I know this paper means very little to you today, but in a few years it could become something very good to have – Have a wonderful day! I’ll be thinking of you this Xmas day. Love Gran.

 $25 DID grow over the years

Matt sent this note:

Savings Bonds given to Matt Steinhoff when he was a babyThe back of the envelope shows when the bond was purchased and the amount for which it was exchanged. I’m pretty sure every bond was $25 face value and each was purchased for $18.75. Those bonds were
redeemed in December 1998.

The two remaining bonds are worth…

October 1975…  $133.15
December 1975… $134.75

Both stopped earning interest in 2005. You can calculate their value here…

I would have sworn those bonds paid for part of my Stidham house furniture but, given the 1998 date, those bonds probably paid for my Kirkman apartment furniture… which is still in use in my Camellia house 14 years later. So, many thanks to Pa Pa and Gran.”


Three generations of furnishings

Lila, Mark and Lila Steinhoff Christmas 1973

We’re going to use the proceeds of those last two bonds to open a savings account for Malcolm. I’m sure he’ll need to furnish an apartment in a few years and it seems only fitting that his great-grandparents buy him a sofa since they bought me and you both a sofa.
Three generations of furniture from those two, right? Didn’t they buy your original fold-out sofa?

He was right. When Lila and I got married, the only things we had in our living room were some concrete block and board bookcases and a twin bed mattress Lila had covered with corduroy, plus a few cushions, that served as a couch.

The first time Dad and Mother came for a visit and had to sleep on the floor on the “couch,” he pressed $300 in my hand and said, “Before we come back, make sure you have a hide-a-bed sofa for us to sleep on.”

Here Lila, Brother Mark and Dad sitting on the sofa in our first house in West Palm Beach. The Cape Steinhoffs had come down to Florida for Christmas.

71 Years ago

LV and Mary Welch Steinhoff on Florida honeymoon 1942I make it a point to call Mother every Sunday night at 7:30. Now that I’m retired, I have a hard time keeping track of the days of the week, let alone the time, so I have an alarm set in my cellphone to remind me that it’s Sunday. When I made the call this week, Mother casually mentioned that Monday would mark 71 years since she and Dad got married in Advance.

I remember her saying that she and Dad had gone to a movie. When they got out, my grandfather, Roy Welch, told them that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. “If you kids are planning to get married, you’d better do it right away.”

Florida honeymoon

Mary Welch Steinhoff Florida honeymoonA month later, they were married and on their way to Florida for a honeymoon.

Dad was luckier than many men his age. He was working for a contractor who won defense contracts to build airfields and other essential projects, so he was deferred from the draft.

One of my favorite photos

Mary and LV Steinhoff June 1970This photo was part of a series I didn’t remember shooting. It’s one of my favorite shots of the two of them in our back yard in 1970. It’s obvious that they weathered well as a couple. I wrote about discovering the series just about this time last year.

You expect your parents to be there forever. When I shot this, none of us dreamed that Dad would be with us only another seven years. I guess that’s only partially true. He’ll live on forever in our memories.

Photo gallery of honeymoon

Here are some additional shots of the honeymoon from 71 years ago. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.